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Temporal range: Late Jurassic-Early Cretaceous
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Sauropsida
Order: Pterosauria
Suborder: Pterodactyloidea
Genus: Doratorhynchus
Seeley, 1875

Doratorhynchus is a generic replacement name for Pterodactylus validus, in 1875 suggested by Harry Govier Seeley. Today it is considered a nomen vanum.

In 1870 Richard Owen named Pterodactylus validus based on holotype BMNH 40653, a thirty centimetres long partial wing finger phalanx from the Purbeck Limestone (Britain), identified as that of a pterosaur. The specific name means "strong" in Latin.

In 1868 Seeley had obtained a vertebra and a jaw, from a quarry near Langton Matravers; in 1869 he had named these Pterodactylus macrurus. In 1875, he concluded that the remains were cospecific with P. validus and at the same time gave a separate genus name to the species: Doratorhynchus, from Greek dory, "lance" and rhynchos, "snout", referring to the jaw form, so that the full species name became Doratorhynchus validus. He did not refer to BMNH 40653. Later the species was sometimes assigned to other genera, resulting in an Ornithocheirus validus (Newton 1888) and Cycnorhamphus validus (Owen 1870).

Later it became clear that the vertebra, interpreted as caudal by Seeley, was a cervical vertebra and indicated that very long-necked forms already lived in the Late Jurassic (Tithonian) or Early Cretaceous (Berriasian). It was suggested that Doratorhynchus was a basal member of the Azhdarchidae. However, in 1995 Stafford Howse and Andrew R. Milner concluded that Seeley by excluding the phalanx had failed to rename P. validus and that therefore Doratorhynchus should be considered a nomen vanum. Also, in their opinion the phalanx was not diagnostic enough anyway and only assignable to a Pterodactyloidea incertae sedis. The jaw they assigned to Gnathosaurus and the vertebra to some undetermined ctenochasmatid.

See also[edit]


  • Owen R., 1870, Monograph on the Order Pterosauria, Palaeontographical Society, London
  • Seeley H.G.; 1875, "On the Ornithosaurian (Doratorhynchus validus) from the Purbeck Limestone of Langton near Swanage", Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, London, 31:465-468
  • Lydekker R., 1888, Catalogue of the fossil Reptilia and Amphibia in the British Museum (Natural History). I. London, pp. 2–42
  • Howse, S.C.B. & Milner A.R., 1995, "The pterodactyloids from the Purbeck Limestone Formation of Dorset", Bull. Natural History Museum, London, (Geology) 51(1): 73-88